Forgiveness can be tough. Even though we pray in the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us,” and know that Christ forgives us, we can often struggle to forgive those who wrong us.
I was in college, near the end of my freshman year. A friend and I applied to be resident assistants together in the freshman dorm. We were interviewed for the position by some upper classmates. My friend and I thought the interview had gone well. We both had good references as compassionate, helpful students and since there were only a few applicants, we thought we would both be chosen.
A few days later, I discovered that I had been rejected.
The reason given was that I was too vocal about my Christian faith. The student leaders thought I would be constantly “evangelizing” the freshman on my floor, even though this behavior had not been discussed in the interview. I felt that I had been unfairly rejected and was both disappointed and angry.
I wrestled with how to be forgiving towards the student leaders. I believed they had jumped to a conclusion without ever asking the question. I had helped start a Christian fellowship on the campus where none had existed before, but I was not some “outspoken” evangelist. In fact, I was often too quiet about my faith in public settings. After the rejection, I wrestled with my resentment towards my fellow students and whether I could forgive them.
Fortunately this wrestling match ended quickly. The Dean of Students (who had written one of my recommendations) heard about this unfair decision and reversed it. I was thankful for his intervention and had a good year as a resident assistant. Still I wonder what I would have done if the Dean had not intervened. How long would I have carried resentments?
Jesus carried no such resentments. Even as he was nailed to the cross, he said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
Have you ever struggled with forgiving someone?
Lord Jesus, forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Yes, and two-month’s worth of soul searching and prayer culminated in the situation being reconciled before the 4-foot cross hanging above the altar at church.
The hardest to forgive are authority figures who seem to have some power over my life and I think they have chosen to wield this power to cause me harm. Probably giving them way too much credit for how I feel . when I do eventually ask God’s help to let go of resentments there is a big relief. Maybe this is part of the freedom Jesus was speaking of when he said you will know the truth and the truth will set you free
Andy, I think you are right in saying that part of our freedom in Christ is freedom from resentment.
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I have had a lifetime of resentment and wrestling!!! Wanna see the scars????? 🙂 I heard recently a saying – expectaton is a resentment waiting to happen. I have for a long time tended to focus on the expectations to solve any future resentments long before they happen. Another is to work on forgiving while the problem is small. One thing that helped me with forgiveness was that forgiveness is about ourselves and releasing us from the prison of resentment or hate. It is not easy but themore we pray about forgiving the less it holds us captive. For as long as we blame the other for how we feel or how their action affects us we are forever chained to them – forgiveness releases us. In reality we can forgive a person for something but they, as far as I understand, are accountable to God so really I think forgiveness is about the link between us and our adversary. As for their action – it is still their responsibility. There is an excellent movie called Amish Grace which basicly looks at thjis subject – based on a true event where a gunman enters an Amish schoolhouse and masacres many of the school children. How to forgive – yes through Jesus but that is a whole discussion in itself!!
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